A blind Brooklyn man and his guide dog were bound for a dentist visit in New York City  when they encountered much more than they bargained for on the platform of a New York City train station.

Although this story of survival happened a while ago, it is one worth recounting. It is all about a blind man named Cecil Williams and his guide dog, Orlando, who saved him from catastrophic injury and/or certain death after he fell onto the subway tracks while waiting for a train.

It seemed like just any other day

The 60-year old man was standing on the subway platform at the 125th Street Station waiting patiently for the train to arrive. By his side, as always, was his faithful 11-year-old guide dog and companion, Orlando. Mr. Williams told the Associated Press that he suddenly felt faint and lost consciousness. Orlando tried to pull his charge away from the edge of the platform and barked furiously, but both of them fell onto the deadly tracks.(See the article on Bretagne.)


Cecil Williams and Orlando


Morning  commuters were horrified and frozen in their tracks. A Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) employee arrived on the scene and gave Cecil instructions that saved both his life and Orlando's. He was told to lie down where he was in the ditch between the rails and not attempt to climb back up onto the platform. Miraculously, both guide dog and blind man escaped the harrowing incident without serious injury, although both were struck by at least one of the cars before the motorman could completely bring the train to a halt.

Something was watching over them that that morning

No one knows exactly why Williams and the dog fell onto the tracks, but when commuters heard the approaching train, true panic set in. According to a student, Dana  Gutierrez, who witnessed the terrible scene: "Everyone started freaking out waving to the train for it to stop, but it wouldn't. I turned around because I didn't want to see what was going to happen."

Mr. Williams did suffer some cuts and was taken to Roosevelt Hospital. Orlando did not appear to be hurt and the dog would not budge from his master's bedside. Williams fears that the dog will soon retire as he is 11 years of age, and that his insurance won't cover the cost of adopting him in retirement. (See The Cat Who Saved The Baby.)

Perhaps the guardian angel that got them out of the subway alive and more or less unharmed can do something to change that?

Only time will tell.

In the meantime, both are doing fine.

New York Times


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